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Hands-On: MB&F HM10 Bulldog

Independent watchmaking mb&f New Watches 2020 News Reviews SJX

Hands-On: MB&F HM10 Bulldog

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Source Credit:  Content and images from SJX Watches by Cheryl Chia.  Read the original article - https://watchesbysjx.com/2020/03/mbf-hm10-bulldog.html

MB&F has always been about pushing the boundaries of aesthetic and conceptual creativity in watchmaking, lassoing in everything from pop culture to science fiction to build its Horological Machines. Reminiscent of the HM3 Frog and HM9 Flow, the HM10 Bulldog is the tenth watch in the series and another intergalactic timekeeper reassembling a robotic animal. While MB&F has historically been all about less-than-friendly animals, like a cyclops-chicken, luminous jellyfish, or giant spider, the HM10 is modelled on a domestic favourite.

The design language of the HM10 is a familiar one as it borrows liberally from MB&F’s past machines. Bulging eyes in the form of rotating displays take their cues from the HM3, while the suspended balance wheel under a high domed crystal is also found in the Legacy Machine series, and finally the mobile jaw that’s also a power reserve display brings to mind the vertical indicator on the LM1.

Elaborately constructed body

Available in either titanium, or red gold and titanium, the HM10 Bulldog has a flattened, elongated body with a protruding pair of collets holding the crowns, as well as two domed sapphire crystals on the front and back to accommodate the time display and power reserve indicator respectively.

At 54 mm by 45 mm, it does have a large presence on the wrist, but the overall shape of the case, in comparison to past Horological Machines, feels rather ungainly and less assertive.

But despite its odd form, it wears comfortably on the wrist due to the hinged lugs that loosely symbolise the legs of the bulldog. The lugs are elaborately shaped and skeletonised, with curves that are polished while the sides are brushed – even the insides of the lugs are brushed.

The pivot point of the “rear legs” also serves as anchor points for the two crowns – one for time-setting and one for winding the mainspring. And due to the asymmetric case design, the strap for the front “legs” has a significantly wider lug measurement.

The lugs are elaborately finished with alternating brushed and polished surfaces

The organically-shaped rear lugs

However, the case no doubt sits high, measuring 24 mm at its tallest point. The case is predominantly brushed with a polished, recessed seam line running across the side as well as polished collets.

Though both watches vary solely in metal and colour, they are starkly different in effect and of course, weight. By way of contrast, the case of the pink-gold version appears larger and more prominent while the homogeneous grey tones across the case and dial in the titanium version draws attention to the blue, domed displays.

The twin domes that form the eyes, as well as the oscillator and the escapement are exhibited under a prominently domed sapphire crystal while the hind dome displays a massive hinged jaw that opens and shuts according to the amount of wind left in the mainspring.

Form movement

The highlight of the movement inside, as with many of MB&F’s movements, is its impressive form as well as three-dimensionality. It is constructed in a shape of a pear to accommodate the bulldog-shaped case. The movement side features a ratchet wheel and mainspring barrel occupying the top half of the movement.

The front and back of the movement

The barrel is flanked by a pair of gear trains – a primary one running along the left side powers the time displays with the escapement and balance wheel visible on the dial side, and a secondary train on the right for the power reserve indicator, which is effectively a simple automaton in the form of a pair of jaws that come to a close when the mainspring winds down. The jaws are driven at a 90° angle to the power reserve gear train with the use of bevel gears.

The characteristics and dial-side architecture of the movement are familiar as it borrows heavily from the LM1, which had a pair of sub-dials for the time display, a suspended balance wheel as well as a vertical power reserve indicator.

The dial-side architecture of the LM1

But instead of a pair of conventional dials, the hour and minutes are displayed on a pair of rotating domes – an element drawn from the HM3 Frog. To reduce inertia, the domes are machined from solid aluminium to a paper-thin thickness, allowing it to maintain the same 45-hour power reserve as the LM1.

The escapement, held in place by an anchor-shaped bridge

Because the domes take up significant space, the large balance wheel had to be raised higher, requiring a long balance staff, which extends to the main plate where the escapement is located. Thus, even though the oscillator and escapement are located on the same side, the balance wheel, which is suspended by an arched, black-polished bridge, is still visually impressive. The balance runs at a slow and attractive frequency of 2.5 Hz and is attached to a hairspring with an overcoil.

The highly polished arched bridge

The dial has machined grooves which reveal some of the motion works that link the two domes as well as the keyless-setting gear train to adjust the time.

Finishing and decor

The bridges of the movement is darkened ruthenium-plated and decorated with Geneva stripes. The finishing is of a similar standard to the LM movements, albeit lacking the more elaborate, artisanal bridges with inner and outer anglage as well as the gold chatons. The polished bevels are executed by hand, likely with a polishing wheel. And the click spring, for instance, is rather nicely finished with bevelled edges.

Bridges covered in textural Geneva stripes and jewels are set in polished countersinks

The jaws are sandblasted while the individual teeth are mirror-polished for contrast

Concluding thoughts

After the technical novelty of the HM9 “Flow”, as well as the LM Thunderdome Triple-Axis Tourbillon – the two most complex watches in their respective series – it is hard to be impressed by the HM10 in the same way. It is after all a mishmash of several past elements though restructured in a novel form. Moreover, the design and shape of the case is overtly eccentric even for an MB&F watch. However, if creating an emotional impact with a mechanical work of art was the goal – mission accomplished, and then some.


Key facts and price

MB&F HM10 Bulldog
Ref. 100.TL.BL (Titanium case with blue hour and minutes domes)
Ref. 100.RL.B (Red-gold and titanium case with black hour and minute domes)

Diameter: 54 mm by 45 mm
Height: 24 mm
Material: Titanium, or 18k rose gold and titanium
Water resistance: 50 m

Functions: Hours, minutes; power reserve indicator
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Blue calf leather with Velcro closure and titanium buckle (titanium); brown calf leather with red-gold folding buckle (rose gold and titanium)

Availability: Already at retailers
Price: 98,000 Swiss francs, US$105,000, or €92,000 (titanium); 112,000 Swiss francs, US$120,000, or €105,000 (rose gold and titanium)


 

Source Credit:  Content and images from SJX Watches by Cheryl Chia.  Read the original article - https://watchesbysjx.com/2020/03/mbf-hm10-bulldog.html

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